grace poe takes poll lead in philippines elections
Philippines' Senator and presidential candidate Grace Poe waves to supporters after attending the oral argument at the Supreme Court on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) disqualification cases filed against her for the forthcoming May elections Reuters

Philippine Senator Grace Poe raced back to the top spot in opinion polls as campaign for the May presidential election changes gears.

The latest Pulse Asia survey placed independent candidate Poe at the top of the chart with 30 percent of support.

Poe got the better of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who had pushed her to the second spot in an earlier poll with 33 percent of support.

The latest poll, released on Saturday, placed Binay second with 23 percent of support.

Liberal candidate Manuel "Mar" Roxas II was on third spot with 20 percent, Philstar reported.

The survey was conducted among 1,800 registered voters from January 24 to 28.

"Electoral support for Senator Poe becomes more pronounced (+9 percentage points) while that for Vice-President Binay eases (-10 percentage points) during the period December 2015 to January 2016," Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said in a statement.

"The Filipinos will always be my inspiration to stay the course and work harder, especially now that the official campaign period is about to commence," Poe said in a sttement aftr the poll results were released.

Binay's camp said the most important poll would be on the election day.

Disqualification case

Poe's campaign website says she garnered the highest number of votes in Philippine election history when she ran for a seat in the Senate in 2013.

Elected to Senate, she became the first female Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.

Poe, however, has to clear a disqualification hurdle after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cancelled her certificate of candidacy for president saying she didn't fulfill mandatory 10-year residency requirement.

Poe, who had been in the US with her husband for a number of years before returning home, is fighting the Comeleco verdict in the Supreme Court.